Microwave Journal

Tektronix Adds Waveform Image Processing to Spectrum Analyzers

February 4, 2008

Tektronix Inc., a provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced the addition of DPX™ waveform image processor technology to the mid-range RSA3000B Series Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers that transforms volumes of real-time data and produces a live RF spectrum display that reveals previously unseen RF signals and signal anomalies. The DPX technology enables RF signal discovery capability for a broad range of digital RF applications, including RFID, radio communications and spectrum management.


The rapid expansion of digital RF applications has driven the measurement needs of many applications including mobile communications and spectrum management beyond the capabilities of swept spectrum and vector signal analysis. Digital RF signals carry complex modulation and change from one instant to the next, hopping frequencies, spiking briefly and then disappearing. These transient and time varying transmission techniques help RF devices avoid interference, maximize peak power and, oftentimes, evade detection.

DPX waveform image processor technology displays the live spectrum by processing >48,000 spectrum measurements per second, similar to the previously announced top-of-the-line RSA6114A model. This minimizes the analysis gaps inherent in swept spectrum and vector signal analyzers. To achieve >48,000 spectrum measurements per second, DPX makes use of dedicated, real-time hardware to process the incoming signal.

With high spectrum processing rates, the RSA3300B series and RSA3408B provide 100% probability of intercept for transients as brief as 31 microseconds on the RSA3408B and 41 microseconds on the RSA3300B Series models. The devices also have the ability to trigger on transient signals in both time and frequency domains.

In addition to live RF, the waveform image processor also provides an intensity-graded persistence display that holds anomalies until the eye can see them to show the history of occurrence for dynamic signals and immediate feedback on signal variations over time. This provides engineers the ability to rapidly see on screen both transients and signals that ordinarily could not be seen, either because they are masked by other signals or could only be deduced after time consuming offline analysis.

"RF signals are complicated and often change substantially over time," said Takehiro Kawai, assistant manager, RFID Business Development Department, Business Development group, OMRON Corp. "If we can quickly discover interference, then we can promptly analyze and solve problems. The DPX Live RF display of the RSA3000B series makes this easy, providing an ability to see and intuitively understand RFID signal behavior. Also, RSA3000B's analysis capabilities are also valuable for in-depth analysis of differences with IC tag chips that many companies provide."